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Butterfield 8

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In all the wrong places and wondering why She Was Outside Norm was outside the norm not like the other girls around her O Hara does succeed in not like the girls around her O Hara does succeed in the desperation of the times mostly through glib conversations that seemed to me poor imitations of Fitzgerald O Hara based this story on his imaginings of the life of a young girl whose body was washed up on a beach in Long Island with no account for how she had died It is a pretty grim story in the way that depression era stories can be with an overall cloud of despair seeming to wrap around the characters souls I suppose I was looking for some glimmer of hope or moral fiber and found none at all Perhaps that was intentional after all it would take a severe lack of both to create a girl like GloriaI have Appointment in Samarra in line to read and will still read in despite this not being a great book for me Some authors write in a way that transcends their time Based on this novel alone I don t think O Hara was one of those I think he was a man of his time with little to say that would propel his popularity forward It s not often that I read two works of fiction from the same author back to back but I was digging John O Hara so much after Appointment in Samarra that I thought I would read this one I would never have guessed that both books issued from the same person Not that the uality of writing has changed both books are from the mind of a master Well maybe not this one so muchthis roman a clef had its beginnings in real life but it is uite intriguing and in spite of an extremely small body count and practically no action still manages to hold the reader s attentionThere s really not much one can say about the story line without giving the whole business away it s a story of a tragic figure a feminine anti hero adulteress and thief if being single and doing the nasty with a married chap makes you an adulteressI know his marital status makes no difference to your being branded a thief if you steal from him or a member of his family Having being introduced to sex at an early age by a male family associate she seems to be aware of the effect her sexual presence has on men and as so often happens promiscuity is the order of the day The book is way ahead of its time for its description of people involved in adult situations but there is nothing here to shock modern readers deadened as we are to literary excess I struggled a bit with knowing who was who at first because O Hara tossed new characters at you freuently and almost always in pairs I freuently had to go back and check on a name to see ust who the heck this or that character was But O Hara made me care enough to keep reading when an author has kept you turning pages he has done his ob well 355Writing on the topics of Adultery Class sex alcohol child abuse and suicide was always going to be categorized as heavy going and it is especially when thinking of it now I didn t like a single character However like Yates Fitzgerald and Selby Jr O Hara portrays a New York with truthful harsh realities where the city s elite would rather ust brush unsavory events under the Persian carpet Considering this was published in 1935 it s pretty open and frank on it s subjects leading to an uncomfortable in places but uite addictive read which featured some great use of dialogue that goes arm in arm with the people it representsIt s depression era New York where big hitters took big risks and ended up with nothing work is hard to come by and trouble is rife on the streets unless of course your part of the Yale crowd who seemingly go on having good times whilst others continually struggle But there is always sex there is sex on the very first page and masturbation on the second not for the reader s titillation but ust well that s what humans do Can t think of any other book that starts in such a way The focal point is of two The heroine if you could call her that Gloria Wandrous a young woman endowed with beauty a strong libido and sexual experience who is neither a dirty fantasy nor a femme fatale to put it simplistically Then there s Weston Liggett upper class married with daughters flawed and a bit ridiculous who becomes hooked on Gloria Through a grotesue series of coincidences and abrupt decisions we see the two go about trying to patch up a night spent together where Gloria wakes alone finds her clothes torn and leaves in the expensive mink coat of Liggett s wife Gloria we learn as the story progresses was abused as a child and thus may explain behaviour which is at times wild she is not only a victim but an enthusiastic consumer of sex while still being an empathetic if doomed character that must have been revolutionary for the year Ardrobe to wear home she unleashes a series of events that can only end in tragedy Inspired by true events this novel caused a sensation on its publication for its frank depiction of the relationship between a wild and beautiful young woman and a respectable married man. As the author managed to write about such people Why is it that readers do not turn away in disgust Gloria Wandrous Weston Liggett people Why is it that readers do not turn away in disgust Gloria Wandrous Weston Liggett Eddie Brunner those are the three central characters to keep your eye on Lots of characters are thrown at you in the beginning and it can be difficult to make sense of what is happening Be patient you will recognize who is who soon Even if the people perhaps do not live lives you admire you can still come to like them As you come to know what lies in their past empathy and warm feelings grow Gloria is Just Coping As Best She Can With coping as best she can with life has thrown at her I felt a warm spot in my heart for Gloria despite what she does Eddie in my heart for Gloria despite what she does Eddie her best friend and I liked him a lot too Weston is not my favorite but even he is not all bad through and through An author who can make you see the good in such characters is talented The book contains sexual child abuse There are both misogynist and racist statements What is drawn is REAL life If you cannot deal with that the book is not for you I like the realism I do not mind reading about gritty life circumstances The sex is not graphic it is candid and it is real and it remarkably well draws sex from a woman s point of viewThe lines are bubbling over with humor Dry humor that is sometimes satirical sometime ironical sometimes laugh out loud funny The author s ability to draw people through what they say and what is going on in their head is fantastic At home Gloria feels she is surrounded by furniture she would not bump in the dark She observes how a police bitch dog teaches her favorite tan pup hardly than a little piece of meatto stand up like a man and not sit down like a pansy to pee What do you think of this proposal of marriage Remind me to marry you next summer And here is another description of Gloria She swung her butter knife like a bandmaster s baton I have written down ust a few fragments here and there and maybe from these few bits you cannot get the mood or see the humor but take my word for it the lines are very very good The dialogs stand out as being exceptionally well crafted The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Gretchen Mol The story is told moving from one character to another often we are in the characters heads When we are in Gloria s head Mol s intonation is utterly superb Gloria is no demon and hearing her voice as Mol speaks Gloria s thoughts and words is the added dot over the i When Mol speaks men s words the intonation is not as good They sound Mouthing Off In Mexico Essential Cursing In Everyday Conversations just a bit base than the women but if you are listening carefully to the author s words you know who is speaking anyhoweven if you might not easily hear it Her intonation for Gloria is so wonderful I simply would not want any other narrator Mol adds a dimension to Gloria s character that I love the voice you hear mirrors who she is I am glad to have listened to the audiobook rather than having read the paper formatAre you up to a book that presents real life in NYC in the early 30s Then this is a book for you I lived in NYC not in the 30s but in the 50s The energy of the city feels palpable You can easily read the storyust for that to capture the feel of the city Rather unlikable characters their lives in New York 1931 and inspired by a true event First time I have read this author but it will not be the last The passion in his writing wonderful prose the characters interactions with each other the speakeasies well to do people and their desolate lifestyles all combined to make this a very atmospheric read 35 stars I swear the author used irregardless This is one book that I totally appreciate its Hollywood appeal I actually want to see Elizabeth Taylor play Gloria Plot has typical 1930s devices gin palaces economic depression loose women cheating men What s so true to life still today is the abuses of attention from older men to young girls that twists their mind sets about sex and self worth Also the constant manipulation and lies of the offending spouse were believable and deplorable 25 rounded upI found this rather dated It is no longer shocking when a young girl has affairs with older men or when they have sex promiscuously sad fact but true Without the shock factor the central character Gloria seemed of a self destructive careless and unfeeling person than she might have seemed in 1935 She was not a character that I could make a real connection with and none of the other characters was the least bit likeable either I couldn t help thinking that I was glad not to live in 1930s New York City if it was as cynical as thisThe book itself made me think of the story of The Black Dahlia in that the girl in uestion Gloria seemed that same sort of misguided person seeking love. King truths that lurked beneath the surface of a society still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression One Sunday morning Gloria wakes up in a stranger's apartment with nothing but a torn evening dress stockings and panties When she steals a fur coat from the I tried to like this book but ust
not get interested in it know that O Hara is a classic author but it ust wasn t for me I read BUtterfield 8 years ago and revisiting it now I realize I hadn t gotten much from it at the time O Hara was something of a legend but now he seems incredibly dated The story is set during the Great Depression and asks the uestion What if a woman could behave like a man That s not to mean that she took on masculine traits but that she Played By The Same by the same What if as a young person she drank and used drugs liberally and a young person she drank and used drugs liberally and and she had a lot of intimate partners many of them temporary And she was especially fond of attractive upperclass men Married men who were as shameless in their cheating and scheming as she was in dumping them one after another And she wasn t a pro Just a pretty well dressed girl from the suburbs who craved a fast life in Manhattan Story aside this is a serious think piece on the role of women in urban society written far ahead of the feminist revolution But in many ways and especially by today s standards O Hara is both sexist and racist His portrayals of people of color are as stereotyped and phony as the shuffling servant roles in the movies of his day He s obviously in love with his gorgeous heroine and The Chief And His Marine jealous of prep school bred aristos But his ultimateudgment seems to be that a man might get away with being a playboy but carrying on like that can only make a woman miserableOh and I knocked one star off because he used irregardless twice and not because he was writing authentic dialogue GloriaOne name Gloria Wandrous One of the greatest female characters I have ever had the pleasure to read about in any novel She s twenty two tall and beautiful living in New York City in the late 1920s I hesitate to compare her with Audrey Hepburn in the film version of Halfway through the novel is this passage it seemed to him as though he and Gloria were many times on the verge of a great romance one for the ages or at least a match for the love and anguish of Amory and Rosalind in This Side of Paradise and Frederick and Catherine in A Farewell to Arms With this we are reminded that O Hara is a contemporary of Fitzgerald and Hemingway with even some similar preoccupations notably love in a time of Prohibition But this is where the resemblance ends for O Hara s New York in Butterfield 8 is sordid dark repulsive and pulsing with a frightful and pervasive misogyny This novel is full of surprises notably the way in which O Hara frames Gloria Wandrous call girl life against the New YorkEast coast milieu of Yale boys corrupt cops speakeasies the theaterical demi monde Pittsburgh industrialists and even pedophilic clergymen It is with a sinking feeling that you know Gloria will end badly even before you finish the first chapter but it is a testament o O Hara s forceful writing that you read on There is no other way for her story to end Part John Dos Passos Manhattan part Fitzgerald s Tender is the Night part Hitchcock s Marnie and all O Hara s vigorous writing this is realism at its finest I liked this a lot so I must give it four stars That isn t to say you will too I will attempt to explain who and what the book is about and why it spoke to me I want to give you the feel of the bookJohn O Hara has in this novel imagined how it came to be that on June 8 1931 the body of Marian Starr Faithfull a beautiful young promiscuous socialite liberal with drugs and drink was discovered washed up on Long Beach Long Island New York Accident murder or suicide The circumstances were never resolved Two non fiction crime books have been written about the death The Girl On The Lonely Beach by Fred J Cook and The Passing Of Starr Faithfull by Jonathan Goodman Several novels have been written too John O Hara s was the first and the one most well known In 1960 the movie BUtterfield 8 based on O Hara s book starred Elizabeth Taylor She won an Oscar for her role The movie the novels and what is actually known about the Starr Faithfull case all differ one from the other Look at the title Are you wondering why the U is capitalized BU refers to the telephone exchange number that went to the residences in a ritzy district of the Upper East Side of ManhattanThis is a novel where the characters are loose with their morals drinking and sex The setting is a posh area in NYC the year 1931 Architects ournalists industrialists an aspiring author Yale Harvard and Princeton graduates hanging on to family name and wealth in the unstable years following the Great Depression and during the years of Prohibition these are the protagonists Times had been better but the partying had not stoppedSo how The bestselling novel that became an Oscar winning film starring Elizabeth Taylor about New York's speakeasy generation A masterpiece of American fiction and a bestseller upon its publication in 1935 BUtterfield 8 lays bare with brash honesty the unspoken and often shoc.

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